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Who’s in the mood for a dungeon crawl? ORC: Vengeance is a new action RPG from Big Cave Games and Chillingo, and it’s nice to see them supporting something other than cute physics puzzlers. It’s pretty rare. This game puts you in the boots of an unlikely hero: an orcish war chief named Rok, as you slice your way through gloomy prisons, stormy keeps and creepy crypts. The production values are crazy good for iOS, and the entirely gesture-based gameplay is frantic and fun, if a bitty iffy on the control side at times.
Humanity being what it is, it pretty much dooms the game world in search for power by opening a gateway to some dark dimension or something. The point is, now nearly every human has been consumed or converted by the undead legion, and this was all after decades of war with the orcs. It’s up to you as an orc chieftain to fight back this otherworldly menace and avenge your people.
The premise isn’t just a gimmick here. The gameplay is designed in ways to really make you feel like you’re controlling a green screaming death monster. Fights are frantic and blows feel impactful, whether you’re bashing a barrel or smashing a skeleton. Heck, you can even hit the air with your shield to create a shockwave, as much sense as that doesn’t make. It’s not just in the high def graphics and great sound, but in the little details like this that make the game feel aesthetically awesome.
You control this emerald emissary of death entirely with gesture controls; tapping to move and attack things, holding the screen to run, and doing various gestures like a double tap, swipe, or circle to perform your special abilities. If you are a dungeon crawling enthusiast, you may be put off by the lack of excessive loot and ability scores. You only have four skill slots and four attributes to assign points into. You also only get one weapon slot and one shield slot. Essentially, the game is very simplified and streamlined, but it’s still great fun if you don’t mind.
Like I said, it’s the little touches that make this game a real gem. It definitely has flaws, but they don’t detract from the overall experience. Although, you should be warned that the game can really chug along or have crashing issues on older devices starting with the 3GS. Game Center leaderboards and achievements are also included for some added addictiveness. ORC: Vengeance is iOS Universal and available for three dollars at the time of this review. It’s definitely worth grabbing.